Are these modern-world-distractions preventing you from enjoying life? You know your cell phone, your Ipad, your mailing list and your followers in Facebook suck loads of your time, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t mean they can control your life at a point where is not longer YOUR life, or could they?
No item is good or bad per se, it depends on the use we give to the item. We all know that – although sometimes we wonder what good could a Tsar Bomba do-, but that’s not the entire story. Some good uses can turn bad if we overdo them.
Communication technology, multimedia and social network tools do great things for us; they make our life easier and more interesting but, sometimes, too much pepper may spoil a filet mignon. That is true when we become addicted to the benefits the gadget provides.
At this point you might be telling to yourself something like: “I know cell phones may produce addiction to some confused, lifeless, money-driven creatures, but not to me. I am waaaay too far from there” And, of course, you are probably right.
The question is: how far?
The junkie image.
The thing is: you don’t have to wander the streets like the zombie version of Mr. Bean to fulfill the addict profile. Many addicts look completely normal and yet their addiction is controlling their life entirely.
Ultimately, maybe you are not an addict but you really believe you can’t live without your blackberry. It doesn’t matter the label you choose, you are biased: and you can’t enjoy life from the wrong perspective. You can’t enjoy anything if you can’t recognize it.
Beware of instant rewards.
This is a key factor: for anything –from alcohol to checking your traffic – to become addictive, it has to provide instant rewards. If something takes some effort or time to do – like writing an exquisite article, for instance -, it may even produce the same level of reward, most likely, it won’t become addictive.
You have to keep your eyes open because the rewarding effect may be difficult to spot sometimes. What reward do I get by spending three hours a day text messaging? You may ask. Answer is: the same social rewards you get in a social meeting: recognition, reassurance and entertainment.
The other characteristic to be aware of is the aftertaste. Once the effect of the instant reward is due, almost always appears a feeling of discomfort. It can be guilt or hangover, wariness or stress. Recognize that feeling in you and you will spot your addiction.
You found the mice, now what?
Severe addictions are not cartoons. They must be treated properly by specialized professionals, but we are not talking about those here. We may face addiction to modern gadgets successfully with some character and good planning.
There are many techniques to deal with them but they will always be about controlling the habit or completely eliminating it. Limiting the habit to a schedule could often work good enough to control it.
For tougher nails, it could we wise to replace the bad habit for another with similar or stronger rewarding action. In that case, you must review your present and past habits and recall those that brought you the best rewards and benefits.
If the symptoms persist, consult your physician.